The Bhutanese love picnics. They love the food involved, of course, but they also love spending time with their family and friends and sharing stories with each other.
In the run up to the first ever democratic elections in Bhutan, Rinpoche entertained some old friends in the garden of his Paro home. Everyone sat in a clearing, leaving lots of space around Rinpoche and making quite a huddle on the opposite side of the circle. Keeping their distance is how the Bhutanese show their respect, and while I applaud the sentiment, the gesture can be a little impractical as Rinpoche had to shout quite a lot.
Next to Rinpoche sat a Lama (his name sounds like Nyingkola, but I don’t know how it’s spelt) who looks a lot like the pictures I’ve seen of Dudjom Rinpoche, and next to him sat one of Rinpoche’s oldest friends. This old friend had Rinpoche in stitches as he spoke quite openly about all the illegal activities he was planning to strong-arm Bhutanese villagers into voting for his party. I hasten to add that his party didn’t win. But his plan of action kept Rinpoche laughing full-throttle for nearly an hour.
It was one occasion when I would have liked to understand Sharchhop-kha.